Female Power and Male Dominance On the Origins of Sexual Inequality

ISBN-10: 0521280753
ISBN-13: 9780521280754
Edition: 1981
List price: $57.00 Buy it from $8.10
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Description: In this book, Professor Peggy Sanday provides a ground-breaking examination of power and dominance in male-female relationships. How does the culturally approved interaction between the sexes originate? Why are women viewed as a necessary part of  More...

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Book details

List price: $57.00
Copyright year: 1981
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 4/30/1981
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 316
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

In this book, Professor Peggy Sanday provides a ground-breaking examination of power and dominance in male-female relationships. How does the culturally approved interaction between the sexes originate? Why are women viewed as a necessary part of political, economic, and religious affairs in some societies but not in others? Why do some societies clothe sacred symbols of creative power in the guise of one sex and not of the other? Professor Sanday offers solutions to these cultural puzzles by using cross-cultural research on over 150 tribal societies. She systematically establishes the full range of variation in male and female power roles and then suggests a theoretical framework for explaining this variation. Rejecting the argument of universal female subordination, Professor Sanday argues that male dominance is not inherent in human relations but is a solution to various kinds of cultural strain. Those who are thought to embody, be in touch with, or control the creative forces of nature are perceived as powerful. In isolating the behavioural and symbolic mechanisms which institute male dominance, professor Sanday shows that a people's secular power roles are partly derived from ancient concepts of power, as exemplified by their origin myths. Power and dominance are further determined by a people's adaptation to their environment, social conflict, and emotional stress. This is illustrated through case studies of the effects of European colonialism, migration, and food stress, and supported by numerous statistical associations between sexual inequity and various cultural stresses.

List of tables and figures
Preface
Introduction
Plans for sex-role behavior
Scripts for female power
From "the complete perfect unity": the Balinese
The creative grandmother of the primeval sea: the Semang
Father, mother, lover, friend: the Mbuti
The mother of the earth beings who fell from the sky: the Iroquois
One couple from the sky and one couple from the earth: the Ashanti
The female creative principle
Scripts for male dominance
Eve's transgression, God's punishment, and female power: the Hausa
The merging and splitting of animals, mothers, and males: the Mundurucu
Nullifying female power: the Papagoes
The fierce people: the Yanomamo
The psychological bedrock
Constructing sex-role plans
The environmental context of metaphors for sexual identities
Gender symbolism in creation stories: inward females and outward males
Male parenting and creation symbolism
The role of environment
Environment, origin beliefs, and history
Reflections of social life and thought in origin stories
Plans for the sexual division of labor
The kinds of activities that are universally allocated to males
The cultural patterning of work
A third cultural configuration: the dual-sex orientation
Sex-role plans and configurations of culture
Blood, sex, and danger
The body as symbol
The body in society and nature: the Andaman Islanders
Fluctuating food, warfare, and fear of fluxing women: the Bellacoola
Pollution of menstrual blood and sexual intercourse
Male and female worlds
The women's world
The bases for female political and economic power and authority
The ascribed bases for female economic and political authority
The case of the Abipon: female power and the hunter/warrior configuration
The achieved bases for female economic and political power
The ascribed and achieved bases for female public power and authority and increasing technological complexity
The decline of the women's world: the effect of colonialism
The Igbo women's war
Handsome Lake and the decline of the Iroquois matriarchate
Female power and movement onto the Great Plains: the Lords of the Plains and the Sacred Buffalo Hat
The movement of foragers into marginal territories
The relationship between colonialism, a marginal food base, and female power
The dynamics of male dominance and sexual inequality
The bases for male dominance
Male dominance: mythical and real
The correlates of male dominance and sexual inequality
Anthropological explanations for male diminance
From the native's point of view
Male dominance: part of a cultural configuration or a solution to stress
Why women?
Defining the oppressor
Men, animals, and women: the Mbuti and the Desana
External and internal threats to social survival: mythical versus real male dominance in the New Guinea highlands
The experience of migration: the Azande versus the Bemba
Conclusion
Conquerors of the land flowing with milk and honey
Epilogue
The goddess and Yahweh cults in Canaan
Adam and Eve: migrating men and foreign goddesses
In God's image
The early Christians
Appendixes
Sample
Variables
Analysis of the relationship between environment, fathers' proximity to infants, and origin symbolism
Configurations for the division of labor
Construction of the measure for female economic and political power or authority
Male aggression scale and male dominance measure
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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